The propaganda was what one would expect of the British media: half truths, lies, distortion: superficial and deceptive, impudently casting judgement like a dark stain on a pristine canvas.
Quotes 1 and 2 “the Arabs have shared this land with the Jews since biblical times” and then a moment later “The Arabs have lived here for a thousand years.” Well, actually, neither is correct. The Near East is a multitude of races, tribes and belief systems. The Arabs ethnically cleansed, raped and murdered their way out of the Arabian Peninsular in the Seventh Century AD (or CE). They swept across the continent colonizing, enslaving and destroying as they went. The Arab conquerors captured the Holy Land and for almost all of the next thirteen hundred years they persecuted the ‘racially inferior’ inhabitants that they conquered. The Arab ‘nation’ has not seen any legitimate reason to share graciously with people of non-Arab descent. So the first and second statements in ‘The Promise’ putting Arabs before the Jewish inhabitants of ‘The Holy Land’ is meant to infer that they were somehow partners but also, there first, rather than being cultural and actual colonialists. This is therefore a physical act of rewriting history. And that act so early in the drama has the stench of Orwellian creativity rather than literary license.
Quote 3: Almost in the same breath we are told that ‘The Jews’ are coming out of Europe and stealing the Arabs land. Actually, the land purchased from wealthy Arabs was worthless for normal cultivation or construction in Arab eyes and therefore uninhabited. It was also sold at a premium, making farmland purchased in 20th Century Palestine, some of the most expensive rural real-estate on the planet. No theft there but why should British TV be bothered by a little thing called the truth?
Quote 4: The army controls every aspect of our lives – this is a military state. The angry anti-Zionist Israeli then lists five former generals that have been Prime Ministers of Israel. So let us first examine the Twentieth Century through history’s eyes. Stalin was a Catholic Seminarian studying for the priesthood before he murdered tens of millions of his own people as supreme leader of the Soviet Union. Hitler the army private began a war that cost over fifty million human lives. Churchill, long after the war was won vetoed bombing the concentration camp supply lines and is thus indirectly responsible for the deaths of over a million innocents (men, women and children). We could of course continue with many more fine examples of civilian morality. But I am not advocating support for a military state. However, it is an inescapable fact that a nation surrounded by enemies and threatened on all sides by religiously bigoted nations theologically predisposed towards conquest will need to arm itself, maintain vigilance and even to fight the occasional war for its survival.
And the people will create a constructive tension between the need for discipline and the freedom to express opposition to authority (particularly if they are Jewish!) That is the essence of Jewish Statehood today.
To live under constant threat of attack from an enemy that respects nothing but force itself is truly a terrible thing but to explain that because we live under threat, we are therefore a military state as if there is a choice is to justify the statement that we are all of us legitimate military targets. This is the thinking and the justification made by Islamic and Arab terrorists against everyone not like them. Put simply, if you do not support us, you are the enemy; it is the credo of terrorists and religious fundamentalists everywhere.
That this program could make such an argument is ethically obscene.
Quote 5: The anti-Zionist Jewish protagonist states that his father is a very well known liberal in Israel; he was a famous general who once signed a petition. This glib statement barely points to the significance of the real life incident. In the 1980’s a group of 300 generals and other senior military officers signed a petition that was then made public, calling for ‘withdrawal from occupied territories’. They were very clear in stating that there was an almost complete absence of trust between Israel and its non-Israeli Arab enemies. They therefore underlined the paramount importance of security as being a prerequisite for fostering peaceful co-existence. This was at a time when only Egypt had made a very cold peace with Israel and no Palestinian official would dare to entertain an ‘accommodation’ with the Jews. And so to return to our previous Stalin, Hitler, Churchill analogy. Only a fool would make such a comparison. Only an idiot would minimize the importance of this petition, publicly distributed, across the nation. I cannot ever envision an instance where this would happen in any other nation. To not simply go against their livelihood, but to demand reconciliation before the politicians were prepared for it and long before their enemy had forsworn violence is almost unfathomable.
But a reductive approach is meant to justify throwing together Liberal Israeli’s along with ‘the rest’ as irredeemably flawed and therefore unworthy of saving.
The confrontation between an Israeli Arab and an Israeli soldier (who could just as easily also be an Arab, Druze or Bedouin) is entirely, unsurprisingly, in Hebrew. But all the more sinister because in the total absence of subtitles, we may only imagine the worst.
The definition of Nationality does bring up the question of identity. On the most basic level the place of birth is generally considered the basis for national identification. That said, the only people within Israel clambering for separate development are extremist Palestinians and they have demanded separate administrative, cultural, religious, educational development as well as separate governance within the nation. The last time I looked up that particular definition of separate development it was called Apartheid. Only the Arab nation and our friends on the Left are demanding it. To demonstrate our film makers allegiance a final quote: “welcome to Israel – you just got a crash course in what it means to be an effing Palestinian in Israel”.
Here lies the problem. They are not Palestinians living in Israel unless they reject Israeli self-determination (sovereignty). They are Israelis and it is time that the language of separation artificially imposed, was rejected.
A Program such as ‘The Promise” weaves a web of deceit because people watch without questioning. I repeat what I have said before, the narrative if it is not shared is owned by one side or the other. Israel has lost the narrative war and it must regain it to survive.